Fante of Ghana - Asafo Flags
Textiles and Symbols

Image of Kente cloth

(Image from Akan Cultural Symbols Project)


An Eternity of Forest - Paintings by Mbuti Women: An incredible online exhibit and information resource for information and images of the beautiful barkcloth created by the Mubuti (Pygmy Women). Extensive information is acessible, including:

a.      Essay and Introduction to Exhibit -- extensive background information

b.      Musical Slide Show of many examples of barkcloth

c.      How Mbuti Artworks are created

d.      Teachers and Young Persons Exhibition Sheet

Adinkra History: Site provides large-sized images of 16 Adinkra symbols - click on them for explanation of their meaning, along with a poem written by A. Kayper-Mensah which further illustrates the meaning of each symbol

Adinkra Symbols from Ghana: Site provides excellent large-sized images of 15 Adinkra symbols with their meanings. However, although images appear to be clickable for detail views, they are not.

Adire Cloth: From the Museum for Textiles - shows a museum quality example of Adire Cloth with explanation of the patterns on it. : A website dedicated to bringing the arts and the artisans of Africa online. Many exceptional articles and slideshows:

            Articles – Including:

·          A Children’s Book – by Louise Meyer. Online book/slideshow showing how Kente cloth is made

·          African Strip Cloth Weaving Slide Show: Provides pictures and very good explanation of the entire process, from the cotton fields to the finished product.

·          Anansi’s Gift of the Magic Thread – by Estelle Carlson

·          Ewe Kente Motifs: A Samplingby Gilbert Ahiagble

·          Ewe Kente Warps: A Sampling – by Gilbert Ahiagble

·          Malinka Motifs: A Sampling – by Amidou Coulibaly

·          Report on a Trip to Ghana to Learn Traditional Weaving Techniques – (10 pages) by Emilia Bess Karr

·          Traveling in East Africa, Encounters with Weavers – Estelle Carson

·          West African Strip-Cloth Weaving – Slideshow by Louise Meyer

Instruction – Including:

·          Building a Loom – A guide to building a strip-cloth loom as used by Kente weavers in Ghana

·          Cotton Spinning – Instructions for ginning cotton, and finger and spindle spinning

·          Kente Paper Weaving – Grade 2, Fiber Arts curriculum

·          Master Kente Weaver Gilbert “Bobbo” Ahiagble – 25 minute video in two parts. Two sample clips are available for viewing. Full video can be purchased

·          Small Loom Weaving – how to build small triangular looms like those used by African children

Textile Artists – Groupe Bogolan Kasobane – a collective of six artists from Mali – Click “Portfolio” on the left to view collection of their work.

            Others include - Click “Portfolio” on the left to view collection of their work.:

·          Amidou Coulibaly – Malinke weaver, Ivory Coast

·          Gilbert “Bobbo” Ahiagble – Ewe Kente weaver, Ghana

·          Hawa Moiwai – Gara (tie-dye), Sierre Leone

·          Moussa Diabate – Traditional Mali textile artist

·          Nassouko Coulibaly – Malinke spinner, Ivory Coast

African Signs and Spirit Writing by Harriette Mullen – extensive article

Akan Cultural Symbols Project: Exceptional site which provides detailed information and examples of African textiles, including how they are traditionally worn - click on everything you see - extensive examples of Kente patterns and Adinkra symbols.

Applique Showing the Kings of Dahomey: Large image with each square clickable for more information about the king it represents and the meanings of the symbols used.

Baule Cloth (Ivory Coast): Description of process used to produce this cloth along with accompanying images that are clickable for enlarged views.

Benin – Fon People – Applique Banner

Benin – Fon People – Applique Banner

Bogolan: Shaping Culture Through Cloth in Contemporary Mali: Author is Victoria L. Rovine. This is an excellent review of the book with s number of pictures.

Cloth as Metaphor : This exceptional book by George F. Kojo Arthur catalogues over 700 adinkra symbols and themes encoded in the texts of proverbs. The book can be purchased directly from the Akan Cultural Symbols Project.

Cloth of African Kings, Kente Has Been Worn by Muhammed Ali, President Clinton and even Barbie: Written by a 16 year old youth, this article is a review of the exhibit "Wrapped in Pride: Ghanian Kente and African-American Identity". Two pictures of beautiful Kente cloth are shown.

Dahomey Wall Hangings : This site offers a number of modern day examples for sale. Lots of pictures.

Egyptian Stitch: June 2001 article by Ruth Barnes reviewing the “A Stitch in Time: Medieval Islamic Embroideries from Egypt” exhibit. Three exquisite examples are shown that are clickable for close-up viewing. Click on the “Exhibition” section in the right-side frame, then scroll down and click on the title.

Examples of Textiles Made by Doko Weavers – Ethiopia

Fon Appliqué Cloth : From an exhibit at the Bayly Museum

Forms of Change - Ethnic Design From Southern Africa: Scroll to bottom of page to see a textile wrap with beads and tin.

Heland Basali Tapestry Weavers: Created in rual Lesotho. Many examples. Can be purchased.

History and Significance of Ghana's Adinkra Cloth: This exceptional website by the Republic of Ghana gives extensive information about Adinkra cloth and its symbolism - provides over 60 examples of Adinkra symbols and their meanings.

History and Significance of Ghana's Kente Cloth: This excellent website by the Republic of Ghana gives extensive information about Kente cloth - provides examples and explanations of 10 different patterns.

History of Kente Cloth - More Than A Piece of Fabric, A Part of Culture: An good site that gives information about the historical background of Kente, its Aesthetics and Usage, the Symbolic Meaning of Colors, Materials and Techniques, and Kente Symbolism.

In the Spirit of Things: March 2002 article by Tony Luppino reviewing the “Out of this World: Textiles From the Spirit Realm” exhibit. Click on the “Exhibition” section in the right-side frame, then scroll down and click on the title

Khangas : Collection of, and commentary on, 308 Sayings on East African Cloth by Joseph H. Healey

Kate Peck Kent Collection of West African Textiles: Excellent site with lots of information, including a glossary. Many images, clickable for enlarged views. Site divided into three major sections: Adinkra Cloth, Adire Cloth and Strip Weaving with information about how each is made as well as meanings of the symbols and patterns.

Kente is More than a Cloth: Shows a picture of Nana Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, King of the Asante Kingdom (1931-1970), regally wrapped in Kente Cloth. Also has the same examples and explanations of Kente cloth patterns

Kuba - Central Africa: Example of a beautiful piece of Kuba Cloth in the collection of the Peabody Museum.

Kuba Cloth: Playing With Geometry: This site provides information and stunning examples of kuba cloth.

Kuba Textiles - An Introduction: Detailed article about how Kuba Cloth is created. No pictures.

Kuba Velvet: Image from the University of Central Florida Art Collection.

Mande Traditions in Textile Production: Image is shown of a Mande (from Suriname) textile and states that Mande textile productions were carried over on the ships of the slave trade. Also shows a quilt by Amanda Gordan of Vicksburg, MS.

Man's Kente Cloth - Image 1: Close-up view of a piece in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Man's Kente Cloth - Image 2: Close-up view of a piece in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Meanings of Symbols in Adinkra Cloth: Provides the meanings for a small sampling of the more than 80 symbols used in creating the patterns for Adinkra cloth

Nigeria – Ejagham Culture – Ekpe Cloth

Nigeria – Igbo People – Women’s Weave

Nigeria – Yoruba People – Adire Painted Cloth

Nigeria – Yoruba People – Women’s Weave

Nigerian Funeral Cloth: From the University of Michigan Museum collection - Cotton, applique and patchwork. Wonderful! Also - Kuba rafia cloth; Another Kuba rafia cloth; Kuba textile square.

Republic of Congo – Kuba Culture – Kasai Velvet Textile (Woven Raffia Cloth)

 Shoowa Kuba Rafia Embroideries : Many beautiful examples

  Subsaharan African Textiles : Many beautiful examples from Kente to Kuba Raffia Skirts to the    Kirdi   beaded Cache-Sexe skirts worn by Cameroon pre-pubescent girls.

Textiles of Africa: Beautiful images of 9 textiles from the Congo, Ivory Coast and Ghana created in the early to mid 20th century; clickable for close-up view.

The Art of Bakina Faso: This is the full text of a book by Christopher D. Roy, professor of Art History at the University of Iowa about the art of this West African country. Included is a section on weaving. 

The Textile Arts of Madagascar: Incredible site created by the Smithsonian that focuses on the central role that cloth has played historically and in contemporary Madagascar. Opening screen gives some background. “Mouse over”  each of the four pictures at the top to be offered choices for links to extensive images and information about their textiles. 

The Weaving Turtle - African Textiles: Created as part of an education project for an inner city school, this site has to be seen to be believed.

Thirteen Quicktime Videos, including Bobo Fiber Masks, Spinning and Weaving, and Braiding Hair

University of Michigan Art Image Browser: Many clickable images of ancient textiles.

West African Wisdom: Adinkra Symbols & Meanings : Excellent Site! It aims to 1) catalogue adinkra symbols; 2) provide a high quality graphic source for each symbol; and 3) show adinkra symbols in use.

Woman's Kente Cloth: Close-up view of a piece in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Woman's Wrap Skirt: Kuba

Woman's Wrap Skirt and Shawl: Igbo culture

Zimbabwe Painted Textiles: Site shows some beautiful examples and explains the process of creating them, which is similar to batik.

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